The dogs I’ve known and loved in my life have taught me so many things. It can be difficult to explain what makes dogs so important. But if you’ve ever lived with one, you probably understand.
Growing up, my family had an Irish Setter named Sandy. She was very well trained: she always stayed out of the living room and dining room, and when we let her outside, she never left our yard. Sandy didn’t really listen to commands from me, but she was always gentle and fun to snuggle with. From the beginning, I had a childhood companion I knew I could count on.
Several other dogs were also important to me as a child. Some cousins of mine had an enormous Saint Bernard that I loved to visit every year at our family’s Christmas party. It was amazing to me that a dog so huge could also be so gentle and cute. Sure, he slobbered more than any dog I’ve ever seen. But that big head, those shiny round eyes, and those oversized paws made him look like a giant puppy! I couldn’t get enough of that guy.
My neighbors had adorable dogs too. Each one had its own vibe. Next door, there was Roman – a small black and white mutt, and Stosh – a little grey terrier. Roman was the cool and collected one. Stosh was the high-strung yapper. Across the street there was a crazy and loud (but super sweet) Brittany named Trapper. Another neighbor had Buffy, the yellow Lab, and Shadow, the black mutt. There was also a German Shepherd who lived nearby, and two little Bichon Frises. Shar Peis and Aussies were in the neighborhood too. I knew and loved them all, and each one taught me a lesson about dealing with different types of personalities.
Having relationships with so many dogs was a big part of my childhood. These creatures taught me about having good manners, being loyal, and protecting the people I care about. They taught me about responsibility and the importance of consistent routines. They helped me learn to deal with things head-on. They also showed me how to stay optimistic and enjoy the moment I’m living in right now.
Dogs are great teachers. They don’t wallow in the past, and they don’t worry about the future. They tap into the pleasant feeling of simply being alive, and let go of the rest. This is a lesson I believe all of us could benefit from.
To help others learn a similar lesson through pet ownership and interactions with animals, I’ve decided to support an organization called Pawsitive Alliance. This is their mission:
“Pawsitive Alliance’s mission is to help end the killing of adoptable dogs and cats in Washington by increasing adoptions, supporting spay and neuter programs, and improving pet retention.”
I will help support them through the sales of my 2014 calendar. For each calendar purchased, I’ll donate $1 to Pawsitive Alliance. You can buy a copy of the calendar right here in my blog post (or over there in the left column, or on the 2013 holiday store page)!